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Clarity through Creativity

October 4, 2011

Since we have just finished a section on clarity, I thought it would be interesting to practice with creative descriptions. Here are a few tips to make descriptions more creative:

1. Avoid common expressions. Compare “the dog was brown” with “the dog’s fur was the color of melted chocolate.”


2. Use similes. (Similes are comparisons of two unlike things.) Try using “like,” “as” or “than.” 


I feel like I just ran a marathon. (Of course, you did not run a marathon, but you have no energy because you did an activity which drained your energy.)

It felt as good as winning the lottery. (You didn’t win the lottery, but you still feel like that.)

Her purse was heavier than a bag of stones, big ones.


3. Try using interesting metaphors. 

Inside the bus was (like) cooked rice, warm and sticky. (Note: Sticky can be used for humid because your clothes stick to you.)


4. Avoid cliches. “It was as hot as hell” might have been interesting many years ago, but it is cliche now.


5. Avoid adverbs. Although they are common, they are not very creative.

She walked quickly –> She walked at a hurried pace.

She sang beautifully –> She sang with a beautiful voice.

The man spoke loudly. –> The man’s voice filled the room.


6. Involve the senses (touch, sight, smell, hearing, taste).

Smell –> The pungant aroma of kimchi filled the cafeteria.


Students: Write three vague sentences. Then rewrite each sentence with creative expressions to improve their clarity. By the way, creative writing can be difficult, so I appreciate effort more than ability. Also, I’m sure we can all work together to find some interesting and creative ideas, so please read and comment on other students’ ideas.

77 Comments leave one →
  1. proftodd permalink*
    October 4, 2011 3:55 pm

    “This food tastes bad.”
    When I was young, I remember hearing a man say the following when something he ate tasted bad; “This tastes like the north end of a south bound skunk.” Since the head of a south bound skunk would be going south, the tail end must be pointing north. Skunks are notoriously bad smelling, and although I have never eaten skunk, much less the tail end of a skunk, I imagine it does not taste very good. In addition, I’m sure that something that “tastes like an old sneaker” must also not be very complimentary to the chef.

    • Chaily permalink
      October 5, 2011 10:40 pm

      My tongue will go numb before even I catch the south bound head. I mean, I wouldn’t try. It does smell awful.

    • October 5, 2011 11:01 pm

      That’s brilliant.

      My granda has a pile of old expressions like that, most of which I couldn’t post here, and most of them are so ridiculous you wouldn’t whether to collapse with laughter or have him arrested for being insane (not that it’s illegal to be insane)!

      • Chaily permalink
        October 5, 2011 11:27 pm

        Oh, would you please bring them up if they don’t go under the box of coarseness? I’m looking over the Irish jargons you linked. I might not be laughing instantly but maybe I will get what they mean after an hour or even a day. Ponderin’ , ponderin’ ~

      • October 5, 2011 11:31 pm

        I’m afraid they are a little to coarse to be sharing with anyone, let alone students who need to worry more about how to be polite and considerate of their professors when posting comments on this blog, Mr. Lee.

      • Chaily permalink
        October 5, 2011 11:38 pm

        Oh, yes. We are learning how to extend our courtesy. I always respect you, Mr. O’Reilly! I do! Ha-ha.

  2. Hye Jeong LEE (B) permalink
    October 4, 2011 4:34 pm

    1. When my dorm’s light went out, it was very dark.
    -> “When my dorm’s light went out, I felt like I was in black socks.”
    2. My friend and I were very upset after seeing a movie ‘Dogani’.
    -> “My friend and I were becoming fired stones in furnace after seeing a ‘Dogani’.
    3. Time goes fast.
    -> “Time is a hamster which is turing endlessly in a frame of a sieve .”

  3. ya(A) permalink
    October 4, 2011 8:14 pm

    I study hard.
    I study enthusiastically every day and night.

    It’s cold these days.
    It’s chilly like I’m gonna frozen these days.

    She is beautiful.
    She is lovely more than every girl in the world.

    • (b)Puella permalink
      October 5, 2011 10:55 pm

      I think if you use more concrete objects, your sentences are more perfect. In my personal opinion, if your second sentence is changed to ‘Nowadays, It’s cold like a ice candy which is in a ice coffee’

  4. OMG(1) permalink
    October 5, 2011 12:22 am

    She is beatiful
    ==> I was totally possessed by her nice figure

    I got low grade in last exams.
    ==> Even ‘blonde’ would be better than me in last exams.

    The recent movie ‘Dogani’ was shocking.
    ==> I felt like I got hit on the head with hammer as i was watching movie ‘Dogani’

    • haley permalink
      October 5, 2011 7:33 pm

      I can’t understand the second example. What it means..that blonde??

      • Chaily permalink
        October 5, 2011 9:09 pm

        Well, it comes from a general stereotype of blonde girls, thinking they’re dumb. Not that kindly manner though, lol. Please be careful even if we are surrounded by Koreans most of the time.

      • OMG(1) permalink
        October 5, 2011 10:55 pm

        Thanks Chaily for ur comment. Exactly, blonde girl implies ‘dumb’ people. I don’t know what origin of that word is, but I heard that most of blonde girls are regarded as a people who like ‘playing’ such as party, drinking, and of course don’t like ‘studying’

      • haley permalink
        October 9, 2011 8:02 pm

        A ha, I guessed in that way.. I also thought it would be rude so we need to be careful using that expression~:)

  5. Mr. H permalink
    October 5, 2011 1:32 am

    “I feel like im in sky 9 everytime Im with her, it feels as though I’ve been blessed with
    a angel from the sky.”
    I have always wondered as to how one could feel as though one could feel so much love in their heart, but after meeting her, I felt as though God really exists and he has blessed me with a angel from the sky. As a result, you feel angels exist and are there for good purposes, and wish to treasure every second with her.

    “I feel so good when I drink ice cold water in the middle of the desert, it feels as though
    I stole a apple from the biblical Garden of Eden.”
    After running on the treadmill and training for boxing, than opening up a bottle of cold iced water it feels as though its a magical feeling, and in my opinion it could be comparable as to stealing and eating a apple from the Garden of Eden.

    “Everytime I see my enemies face, it feels as though I could tear apart that persons face
    with my bare hands.” There’s people in our lives when you feel so much hatered and rage, you imagine as to how one could destroy a person. Than there comes our manly instinct, which could be fighting. As a result you play out the story in your head, the beginning middle and the conclusion.

    • Chaily permalink
      October 5, 2011 10:36 pm

      Holy moly! This guy wrote the whole short stories.

  6. haley permalink
    October 5, 2011 7:31 pm

    I saw a movie.
    ⇒ I saw a incedible action movie with my best friend Joe.
    He sings a song.
    ⇒ My brother Teddy sings in honyed voice when he takes a shower.
    I’m dancing in the club.
    ⇒ I’m dancing like crazy in the housemusic club.

  7. Lia(B) permalink
    October 5, 2011 9:52 pm

    He has a sleepy voice.
    → I fall a sleep when I heard his voice.

    She has a nice body.
    → Her body looks like coke glass bottle.

    Kang Nam’s land prices is expensive.
    → We can buy U.S.A when we sell Kang Nam.

    • (B) HSA permalink
      October 5, 2011 10:20 pm

      I like how you changed the third one. Kang Nam is for sure very expensive.

    • Chaily permalink
      October 5, 2011 10:21 pm

      Oh, wow, that’s one good sarcasm on ridiculous real estate properties there. I don’t think I would ever be able to become a Seoul citizen officially.

    • October 5, 2011 10:54 pm

      Sarcasm doesn’t necessarily imply clarity.

      The first one, perhaps you should call the voice ‘boring’ 🙂

    • OMG(1) permalink
      October 5, 2011 11:02 pm

      by the way, where is the ‘coke glass bottle?’

  8. Jeong hye rin (B) permalink
    October 5, 2011 9:53 pm

    1.Mother’s lullaby makes me comfort.
    →Mother’s lullaby bring me into the clouds.

    2.The taste of ice cream is good.
    →The taste of ice cream, who seemed to be dancing in my mouth.

    3.When I heard the price of clothes, I was so surprised.
    →At the same time hearing the price of clothes and came out eyeball.

    • (b)Puella permalink
      October 5, 2011 10:16 pm

      I think that a feeling I’m on clouds may not be comfortable.. ^^ ㅠㅠmaybe, Isn’t it cold?
      Just my opinion…^^

      • Chaily permalink
        October 5, 2011 10:24 pm

        Ha-ha, yes, good point! Freezin’ cold!

      • October 5, 2011 11:02 pm

        It is also most likely that you would be falling to your death.

    • Chaily permalink
      October 5, 2011 10:24 pm

      Very poetic. Very feminine. I like the way you wrote.

      • October 5, 2011 10:53 pm

        Do you mean the eyeballs falling out?

      • Chaily permalink
        October 5, 2011 11:31 pm

        Oh, shoot!!! Ha-ha. Well, yeah?! I would prefer a female surgeon!

  9. Chaily permalink
    October 5, 2011 10:14 pm

    She said something bad to me.
    → The old granny next-door kept rebuking me for not shoveling snow on her yard for like, 45 minutes straight.
    The new clothes were good.
    → The newly-bought low-viscosity rayon dresses shined fabulously as if they were Versace.
    The dog was nice.
    → The German shepherd tore up a pair of Nikes I just got last night like it was having fun with chew sticks.

  10. (B) HSA permalink
    October 5, 2011 10:18 pm

    1.The girl is very beautiful.
    →Any guy would pause for a moment when he sees the girl.

    2.I want to go to bed.
    →I want to lie down in my cozy bed.

    3.That female singer has a beautiful voice.
    →That female singer has a voice of an angel.
    →I hear an angel whispering to me when she sings.

  11. (b)Puella permalink
    October 5, 2011 10:48 pm

    1. Nowadays, I’m very busy.
    -> Nowadays, I need ten bodies which is more powerful than a superman

    2. I’m a student.
    -> I ‘m a student who has to study like a child who run impassionedly to eat a snack at the field day.

    3. I’d like to eat the chicken toasted with hot sauce tonight.
    -> I’d like to make my nose and mouse hot as a boiling pot by having the chicken toasted with hot sauce

  12. October 5, 2011 10:50 pm

    I opened the door and walked into the classroom and the students looked at me.

    The door handle squeaked with a shriek and the door whined like a spoiled child who couldn’t get what he wanted as I pushed the door open into the surgically white classroom lined with desks, their navy and grey breaking up the colourless cubed room. The fluorescent light rebounded off everything and burnt my eyes as I made sense of the fifteen bodies with their faces contorted in suspicious agony facing me. Their eyes held that peculiar look of hope which you could imagine a trainee lion tamer would have the first time he enters the cage with the champion of the pride.

    • Chaily permalink
      October 5, 2011 11:18 pm

      Oh, wow! You’re such a good writer. (Duh~ he’s the teacher.) I might cast a Chihuahua-look on you as well – “Oh, Conzie, would you please not give us homework assignment, pwiz, pwiz, pwiz?”

      • October 5, 2011 11:22 pm

        Ha! Good luck with trying it that way.

      • Chaily permalink
        October 5, 2011 11:40 pm

        Ha-ha, yeah. We know who will kick the students out in 5 minutes if they beg on their knees. Though, I feel you. You looked kind of stressed out today.

  13. Jo Su Yeon (B) permalink
    October 6, 2011 12:04 am

    1. Chicken is delicious.
    → As soon as we ate chicken, my friend Tom blacked out.

    2. Nowadays, smart phone users are increasing in the street.
    → Nowadays, people are lower their head like criminal and close their ears like the deaf when they are walking.

    3. He is a miser.
    → His purse has a flavor like a salty food.

    • October 6, 2011 12:23 pm

      To see say someone ‘blacked out’ is not a good thing and it refers to forgetting everything because a person drank too much alcohol.

      • Jo Su Yeon (B) permalink
        October 12, 2011 1:02 am

        Oh.. I’m sorry. I didn’t know ‘blacked out’ has that meaning. ㅠ.ㅠ Thank you tell me an exact meaning.

      • October 12, 2011 8:34 pm

        It’s ok. I know you didn’t know. Try to be careful 🙂

  14. Rina You (A) permalink
    October 6, 2011 11:13 pm

    1. I am very hungry.
    -> My stomach was frozen with thunder and lightning in 12:00AM.

    2. She has very good skin tone.
    -> She buy the cosmetic products to Snow White.

    3. Chicken is delicious food.
    -> When I pass in front of KFC, the chicken smell makes me like dog.

    • bliss^.^(A) permalink
      October 9, 2011 3:09 pm

      I like the first one! It’s exactly what I feel when I was hungry…now is like that 😦

  15. Hwang Sung Won (a) permalink
    October 7, 2011 12:03 am

    1. I’m sleepy
    -> I want to be warm air with my bed and blanket
    2. She is noisy
    -> Her voice heard like never ending alarm sound.
    3 I’m nervous
    ->.I feel like when I lost my mom’s credit card.

  16. SUE (B) permalink
    October 7, 2011 8:36 am

    1. A teacher’s voice made us sleepy.
    -> Our old teacher’s drowsy voice sounds like a lullaby, so I could hardly keep my eyes open.

    2. I have a cold.
    -> Because of having a cold, I have a frog in my throat and my nose is stuffed up.

    3. He is smart.
    -> His knowledge extends into many fields as if there is an encyclopedia in his head.

  17. Seongyoon Yoon(A) permalink
    October 7, 2011 12:57 pm

    1.I’m very happy.
    ->I’m feelling like I’m on the cloud number 9.

    2.He passed the test with great score.
    ->He passed the test with flying colors.

    3.Sudden death of my grandmother makes me so sad.
    ->After sudden death of my grandmother, I was overwhelmed with grief even to weep.

    • bliss^.^(A) permalink
      October 9, 2011 3:13 pm

      Your first one is so concrete and cute! : )

  18. Jeong hyo kyeong permalink
    October 7, 2011 1:18 pm

    1. two for the price of one.
    → buy one, get one free.

    2.he is crazy because of the drinking.
    → Eventually the drinking make his life dog.

    3. chocolate is make happy.
    → korea all women like chocolate because chocolate is feel like cloud and love.

  19. October 7, 2011 5:18 pm

    1. Nowdays, I am always sleepy.
    →I doubt that someone put sleeping tablet in my meal.
    2.I played a computer game.
    →I tried to avoid bullets that are not real.
    3.I watch a soccer game in TV.
    →When I watch a Manchester United game in TV, I talk to players like Alex Ferguson.

  20. KoalaCoala permalink
    October 7, 2011 5:27 pm

    1. she looks like Han Hyo Ju
    → I thought she was Han Hyo Ju for a while because her face was so
    similar to her

    2. The thief ran away
    → The thief ran away without letting anyone know.

    3. I am very busy
    → i am so busy that even if I have ten bodies it would not be enough

  21. Elly permalink
    October 7, 2011 9:10 pm

    1. He is hansome.
    I almost fall in love with Austin’s gorgeous face in my eyes.

    2. My computer is slow.
    My computer is like a turtle which can be caught by an ant.

    3. I’m so hungry.
    If you buy VIPS for me, I’ll give you my everthing.

  22. Yujin(B) permalink
    October 7, 2011 10:16 pm

    1. The man take a nap.
    Every afternoon old Mr.Jones takes a nap on his porch for an hour.

    2. The room is so uproarious.
    The room in in an uproar like a busy market.

    3. It was heavy rain.
    Yesterday, the rain was beating down on the roof so hard that it sounded like hail.

  23. bliss^.^(A) permalink
    October 7, 2011 11:05 pm

    1.He stared at it strangely.
    Tom stared at it like something that he has never seen before and wouldn’t see forever in his whole life.

    2. We sang songs.
    We sang songs such as “I left my heart in San Francisco” walking around the street at midnight like drunken guys.

    3. I found a diary.
    I found a mysterious diary like a treasure that was hidden in the ancient Egyptian pyramid.

  24. HyeIn Song(A) permalink
    October 7, 2011 11:41 pm

    When she saw one handsome guy in the street, she smiled.
    -> When she saw one handsome guy in the street, she smiled like a panda finds piles of delicious bamboos.

    He danced intensely in the club.
    -> He danced in the club as he strucked by lightning.

    My highschool friends always gigles with their high pitch sound.
    ->My highschool friends always gigles with their high pitches like a dorphine’s whistle sound.

  25. Eun Kyeong Son(B) permalink
    October 7, 2011 11:58 pm

    It’s raining .
    ->The rains drops kissing on the grass.
    He ate too much food.
    ->He ate like pig which hungered for a week.
    The music is so loud.
    ->The music sound slapped my ears hard.

    • (b)Puella permalink
      October 12, 2011 8:47 pm

      Oh! >.< First sentence is interesting to me. The expression is pretty cute X) !

  26. Park Ji Su (B) permalink
    October 7, 2011 11:59 pm

    1. It is too hot.

    : I feel like I come into sauna room.

    2. It smells good.

    : The aroma of fresh coffee come into my room.

    3. He was so sleepy.

    : He felt that the heaviest things are his eyelids.

  27. Hong Jung Eun permalink
    October 8, 2011 9:54 am

    1. He speaks dialect
    He has a different intonation like singing.

    2. The weather is changeable these days.
    Nowadays, the weather is so fickle as my sensitive friend.

    3. I was under extreme tension before going up the stage.
    When I had a presentation to many people staring at me, My heart was so beating that it could pop out.

  28. Nam permalink
    October 8, 2011 5:54 pm

    I think someone lied to you saying that 비타 500 has a lot of vitamin C.
    – I think someone is pulling your leg saying that 비타 500 you’re drinking is loaded with vitamin C.

    When 소지섭 was seen coming into the cafe, a lot of girls started runing towards the door.
    – When 소지섭 was seen coming into the cafe, a horde of girls started charging towards the door.

    I guess we’ll just have to keep speaking our opinions even though they do not care about.
    – I guess we’ll just have to keep voicing our opinions (speaking our minds) even though they fall on deaf ears.

  29. AHN-JE-HO (A) permalink
    October 8, 2011 8:52 pm

    1.Oyster is soft.
    -Oyster is as soft as ice cream and it is higher nutritious than a book.

    2.Studying English is boring.
    -Studying English is as boring as knitting alone at home and less exciting than typical drama on TV.

    3.Her legs are long.
    -She has longer legs than a coca cola bottle and long enough to catch a old man’s interest.

  30. Kim yi eun() permalink
    October 8, 2011 11:51 pm

    His suit was nice.
    -yesterday was Emily’s birthday. So, we had a party. There, especially Tom’s suit was so luxurious. The suit is Dior’s!!! and the suit fits tom well.
    yesterday, I feel love to Tom. At other times, Tom was just friend, but I fall in love after watching Tom’s handsome face and good body shape.

    There are many people.
    -Last Friday, I went to myung-dong. my purpose to go there is atteding celebrity’s lecture. the celebrity is Go seung duck. A lawer and now member of the National Assembly in seoul. After watching his lecture, I was shocked. there are people anywhere! I think there were about twenty thousand people in one street. The street was like a ant’s house(working ants!). that day, it was hard to go back to my dormitory!

    The movie gets good estimation.
    -These days, Busan is hot-hot-hot!. Because Busan international film festival is held in Busan.
    The first film is 오직 그대만,and the movie’s main actor is 소지섭, 한효주. The movie was appling before people saw it. It is because the actors have high popularity like mountain! And beautiful boy and girl’s love story make people sad. Threrfore, he movie’s point will be about 7~9. The movie gets high point!

    • Kim yi eun() permalink
      October 8, 2011 11:51 pm

      I’m in A class!

  31. October 9, 2011 6:06 pm

    The colour of the room was beautiful because of the lovely sunset.

    The sun’s rays beamed straight and parallel to the ground through the front window, splitting the empty living room into two different worlds. One half was illuminated in a explosion of tangerine phosphorescence, the other side lay in the pale darkness of the shade provided by the single curtain drawn across the wide bay window. The glassware twinkled with the light. The dust rose to dance in the rays. The pale wooden furniture took on a new life creating perfect contrasts of light and dark with each armrest and table top taking on dramatic three dimensional contrasts, each with a long outstetched shadow that crawled across the floor and up the wall on the far side of room. On the other side of the line provided by the curtain’s shade the same furniture melded together into a monotone overcast landscape where even the brightest red of the teapot and the yellow of the bananas were all subsumed into the darkness offered by the long and dusty drape. All in that room’s single static moment a portrait of an instant waiting to painted.

  32. Gabriel permalink
    October 9, 2011 8:49 pm

    1. I am happy with my cat.

    I feel so pleased with my adorable cat.

    2. She smiled all day.

    Judy smiled all day like a possum up a gum-tree.

    3. He played game.

    John played basketball game until he was exhausted.

  33. Kim TaeGyeong(B) permalink
    October 9, 2011 11:06 pm

    1.Drinking a can of beer is cool.
    ->Drinking a can of beer is like diving into sky.

    2.Firework was fantastic.
    ->Firework was a masterpiece exhibited in the sky.

    3.I like watching soccer.
    ->I like watching soccer as much as my girlfriend.

  34. Star (B) permalink
    October 10, 2011 1:29 am

    1. I’m really nervous.
    ->I’m feeling as just before the registering for courses.

    2. Glaciers melting speed is getting faster.
    ->Glaciers melting speed is like watching 4G LTE technology these days.

    3. Japan’s claim that Dokdo belongs to them is absurd thing.
    ->Japan’s claim that Dokdo belongs to them is like insist that the English alphabet was invented by King Sejong.

  35. Olivia 2 permalink
    October 10, 2011 10:03 am

    It is beautiful.
    – It is beautiful sound that birds’ singing early in the morning.

    It is hard.
    – It is very hard and exhusted to climb a mountain.

    It is terriable.
    – It is terriable when I wake up late in the morning and miss a CRW class.

  36. Bianca(B) permalink
    October 11, 2011 9:55 am

    I understood.
    – I absorbed like a sponge.

    I use formal language.
    – I speak extremely polite words that shows respect to others.

    I don`t know.
    -I am not aware of this knowledge.

  37. mina kim (a) permalink
    October 11, 2011 4:00 pm

    i saw a lady in the park having cup noodles at night with messy curly long hair.
    i saw an old lady in the newly constructed park which is near my house at very dark night without any lights. that scary woman who had messy curly hair just like a witch was having cold looking noodles like a begger she seemed fairly creepy.

    i went to new zealand a few years ago. it was cold and snowed because it was winter.
    a few years ago, i could have chance to go to Nz. as soon as i got off the plane, i felt like i was in Antarctic because it was extremely chilly and windy with some snow. i couldnt have stand even 1sec if i hadn’t my fur jacket.

  38. November 6, 2011 10:26 pm

    1. People in my town played whole night using too much electricity
    -> People in my town played whole night using like whole electricity in my country.

    2. Friend of mine is domb
    -> Friend of mine is domb that he can’t spell his name.

    3. I like soccer a lot
    -> I like soccer a lot that I know what Torres is wearing for his underwear.

  39. Panda0928(B) permalink
    November 10, 2011 3:44 pm

    1.horrible movie is interesting.
    -horrible movie ‘Saw series’ has so violent and cruelty scenes that people think interesting.

    2.I like watching musical
    -I like watching musical at front and center a seat like ‘VIP seat’.

    3.he was angry
    -his face looks like volcano. color is so red as if smoke came out.

  40. jasmine permalink
    December 5, 2011 9:35 pm

    1. I love you -> Nothing is better than you in the world.

    2. I feel bad -> I just want to throw everything and run away.

    3. My room is so dirty. -> My room is so messy, there is no place to step.

  41. Choi Jung An permalink
    December 16, 2011 11:13 am

    She is beatiful
    -she is like an angle with bright eyes, clear skin and nice body.

    He is handsome
    – His face mekes every women can’t take their eyse off him.

    I feel bad
    -I feel like such a loser who was dumped by the lover.

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